If you asked a group of your friends how many of them have used a dating app, we'd be willing to bet that a majority of them would say they have. Yet with so many apps, and so many types of people on these apps, dating in the age of Tinder can be exhausting. (Though, it does make for some hilarious stories to tell your friends…) But, believe it or not, there are people who use dating apps to find a serious relationship.
"It only takes one," says Dawoon Kang, co-founder of Coffee Meets Bagel, a popular mobile dating platform behind more than 200 marriages. But since there are thousands to swipe left and right through, we asked the experts for advice on how to attract a more serious type. Here's what they had to say.
Make your profile specific.
Avoid writing, "I love to go to the movies, hike, and get brunch on Sunday," advises Kang. Reveal the things you really love to do. Consider saying, "I like watching Troy as much as The Proposal, hiking up the Land's End trail to see the Golden Gate Bridge, and eating breakfast food for dinner." This reveals so much more about who you are and provides a good jumping point for conversation once a line opens up to chat.
The first photo matters the most.
"It is a must that your first photo has a clear, straight face shot of you," says Kang. "You're not wearing sunglasses, you're not wearing a hat, and it's not blurry." And the more photos you have, the higher number of matches you'll get. Provide at least one photo with your full body so others can get a sense of what you look like.
Go solo in your photos.
Your photos tell a story, and so much of app dating relies on the subtle signals and persona you send out to other users. Dr. Jess Carbino, a sociologist at Tinder who studies user behavior, suggests to always show photos where you stand by yourself.
"That really leads to the idea of somebody being ready for a relationship—when they stand on their own as an individual," says Carbino. Provide information above and beyond a simple headshot and select photos of yourself doing the things you enjoy—running past a finish line, a photo from your travels, or a picture of you at a museum if cultural activities are important to you.
Think of your profile as a first date.
Your profile, from the written bio to the photos, is a virtual platform where you are really introducing yourself to somebody for the first time. It's a first impression; what would you wear? What kind of persona would you bring? If it is not an outfit or a behavior you would bring to a first date, Kang advises not to use it.
"Sometimes members want to be funny and show they're really quirky, so they put pictures or a description that's really out there," says Kang, "but you will have plenty of chances to show off your quirkiness once you know the person."
Go ahead and make the first move.
If your match hasn't messaged you first, go ahead and write to them. Consider an opening line such as, "Hey Ben, how was your weekend?" or "Hey Brad, I'm Amy. How's your week going?"
"Sometimes people want to be clever to set themselves apart, but something simple usually works," says matchmaker Carly Spindel. Just avoid saying something too general like, "Hey, what's up?" so your match engages with you more.
Communicate until you are comfortable.
For some, having a text back and forth with a match for a few hours or over a few days is enough before an actual first date. Others prefer to message for a longer period of time, plus a phone call. Whichever method you choose to establish comfort with the person on the other side of the line is the right one.
Stay open minded.
While many dating apps will bring hundreds of potential matches your way, and it's important to know your own deal breakers, Kang suggests dating outside of your preset type.
"The number one feedback we get from couples is to be more open minded about liking somebody—until you meet the person, you just don't know."